Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So Angry

I am beyond annoyed. We have experienced a continual rise in crime and disturbances in our neighborhood over the past six months in Warner Robins, Georgia.  We purchased our house seven years ago and for six and a half problems at all.  Now, we have thefts consistently... we've had things stolen twice now (last night, our grill was taken from our driveway against our house in the middle of these storms). Our neighbors have reported thefts and unfortunately nothing has changed...we call the police, we report the crimes and the police respond rather quickly, but I believe a lack of patrols/manpower in the area on a consistent basis does not help the situation and I have no idea what else to do.
We've called, we've contacted city council/the mayor (heard nothing).
It is beyond frustrating.
My neighbors and I truly feel like we are not being heard and the issues continue to increase.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Who Am I?

Attempt at the intellectual seflie
Is there anyone who reads this blog who does not know me? I doubt it, but reading up on how to run blogs and how not to run blogs... I found you are supposed to do this "about me" sort of intro (that I've never really done).

So who am I?

I'm a first time mom in my mid-thirties (late thirties but you know, mid sounds better to me). 
I am a student.
I am a bookseller.
I am a historian?
I am a semi-tolerable wife.

I am currently working on one of the last few papers I have due for this semester before summer break.
I NEED summer break.

What are some things I enjoy:
books, gardening, photography, eating, baking, studying history, spending time with my family.
Am I super exciting... no.
BUT... if you ever have a question about Harry Potter... I bet I can answer it.

So that is it.

That's who I am. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Chaos

There are days where I truly contemplate taking the entire family and moving to the top of a mountain in a far distant long as there is an internet connection I am good.

In other news... I have three papers to go and if I do not finish them soon, I may need to take a long vacation in a padded room.

This Summer, while I will be working diligently on PhD program admissions, I swear I am going to take it easy.

So back to work and dreaming about this as my home...

I know this is probably fake...but do you see the effort it takes for people to actually get to you....dreams!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting Late

I do not always have the sunniest of dispositions, I tend to think of the worst when a problem arises and I am trying to work on that.
When something is misplaced, I immediately think about how much it is going to cost to replace it.
When something is not working properly, I automatically assume it is going to have to be completely replaced or the repair costs will break our bank.
This is my nature...this is what I do, and yet I truly believe that I need to be more positive.
Yesterday was a bad day, we all have them...I had one.

Today was much better.

I received word that I've been awarded an academic scholarship for next year and while it is not a super ton of money, it will help purchase books and supplies that I need.

I also received an advanced reader's copy of a novel I am going to review...reading for fun and a review, yay!

It was a lovely day and my son and I got out of the house for once and went and got coffee...well I got coffee, he laughed and chased things.

There was a moment today when I looked around and my house was destroyed, the kitchen was a mess, my child was pitching a fit, and I realized that I did not get as much done as I wanted to and I did not freak out.
This is progress.

I have to get up and go to work one day a week of retail punishment, then back to medieval peasants and slave narratives.

Summer is almost here....

Sick, so Slow

I was sick yesterday and got very little accomplished, I hope today is much more productive. I want to get a lot done so my weekend won't be swamped, I have a feeling my weekend will be if I do not grace this highly important blog with words of wisdom...I will be back next week.  :D

Here is something to think about that connects to my previous post.

This semester I've read a great deal regarding our fear of "the other." That can easily translate into our fear of anything different. It is not a rare fear people who are different, to fear change, to fear a challenge to your own set in ideologies and it is not a modern phenomenon.  The peasant class in Europe were often relegated to "other" status to justify their forced servitude on their Lord's estate...this was a feat for Europeans because they usually oppressed peoples of other faiths, who were not Christians, but with the peasant class in Europe, they were also Christians (I wont go into how the clergy of the day raised them to an almost holy status because of their saintlike labor and at the same time subjugated them as well on their own estates...very different clergy though, most of them went into the church because they were the sons of major lords and needed to find a lucrative and economically productive career...middle ages was a period of great change for the church and it worked diligently throughout the end of the middle ages to remove that sort from service to the Church and replace with people who wanted to teach and live in a more chaste and holy manner...but  it took a while).  Apart from medieval peasants or slaves, the obviously oppressed, I cannot help but continually connect the fear of "the other" with modern forms of oppression.  In many countries, a dominant group will oppress a minority group be it for religious, ethnic, or ideological reasons and usually do it because as the other...that society has placed certain negative traits (often unfounded) on said group.  There are many people who fight this type of oppression, and they too have existed since the middle ages... and you wonder, are we making progress?  We must be, but what will it take to convince people that there will always be differences... and we cannot hold one person down because they look or believe differently than we do.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Other

I finished Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl for the fourth time today. It is a narrative I am very familiar with and always astonished by. I wonder how was it that not too far in our past...that in a country founded on the premise of individual freedom...we turned human beings into animals and justified it because they looked different.

I then thought about today...
We do not enslave or condone slavery in America and yet...we still attempt to justify oppression or the erosion of rights based on difference.

It is easy to chip away at voting rights and disguise it as a protection.
It is easy to tell two citizens that they...although Americans...have not the same rights to cohabitation and love on a legal level because their love is not "the same" it is somehow "wrong"

There are a lot of excuses to judge and oppress... and perhaps some think that with enough excuses and justification it hides the ugly truth...

but it does not.

Harriet Jacobs, while hiding in New York, in a free state...was outraged at the fact that the Northern states had given in to the slave owning south and allowed for the Fugitive Slave Act...making the freedom she endured many pains to obtain as frail as paper in a rainstorm.  She was angry and mocked the idea of liberty and democracy in America....
She was angry because she knew enough to know what freedom and liberty and rights meant... and they should not be conditional upon skin color, wealth, or sexual orientation...they should just be.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Reading is SO Important

We've all heard it and probably have similar reactions....

"I don't read."

You what? For me, the person with nine bookshelves (not counting my son's or the shelfless books that exist throughout my house...hearing that is one of those take a pause moments.

"I don't have time."
"Reading is hard."
"I read too slow."


We are creatures of memory and colors our lives and makes us uniquely human.

I read, on average, about three books a week and yes, that is a lot, but I have to. If I were on break, one a week is the average (unless it is a very short book). A novel is like a story of my own making to some extent...yes the story is there, but I immerse myself into it so much that I can picture it all as I read.  I forget I am reading....and the story just unfolds to me.

Everyone should read.... that is what I believe.

Currently, I am reading slave narratives and they sometimes become difficult...not because of the writing, or the length, or the millions of other excuses people lay out to me when they are looking for a school reading list title and moan on and on about how reading is stupid...
but because I am into it and I feel for the experiences of the people I read about.

There are days when I am too empathetic to be a historian LOL.

Another reason reading is important, I dont have to avoid the internet so I won't see spoilers when movies and tv shows are made from books because I know already.
yay disaster filled George RR Martin weddings.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I am Totally Freaking OUT! (Thanks Peg + Cat)

I do not wallow in the pity party often, but it has been (and pardon my language) a shit-tastic day. I am the stress-plosion time... you know, I seem pretty together until I am not.  First, my new computer (that has already been repaired once within the first month of ownership) is back in the repair shop with a display problem.  That being said, the tech and all the support staff were amazing, friendly, and helpful and they think that the problem was not fixed the first time (they replaced the wrong part) and have assured me that regardless, if it acts up again...they will replace the entire system.  But of course... I got extremely upset because that is what I do when I let stress and frustration build up... I go bonkers at something completely meaningless...

First, I am about to start applying for PhD programs, as I've said before and it is just freaking me out... I feel at times I have an immense amount of pressure on me to move to the next step and I want to, but I always worry that I will not get in a grades, my test scores, my writing samples... won't be good enough and then what?  Seven years on two degrees for what?  I do not think a job or a career should define a person, there are millions of people out there who do what they do to finance the joys of their lives and that is fine... but for a very long time I've dreamed of being a professor and it is something I truly want. I just chose a very small field with very few prospects right now and it bothers me. 

Second, I am extremely agitated about the state of affairs in my community. We moved into our house in 2007 and the real estate collapse took a toll on the neighborhood, leaving quite a few houses empty (two uninhabited since we moved in). Although there were a few empty houses and such...we've had a relatively quiet go of it for six and a half years, but problems began about six months ago and they've done nothing but escalate.  We've heard gunshots, witnessed attempted break-ins, and have grown quite accustomed to looking out the window and finding three to six police cars out in front of one house or another.... Earlier this week I had the awesome experience of hearing my dogs bark (I am so thankful for those pups now) and opening the back door to see a man attempting to break in the house beside mine.  I do not feel comfortable, especially because I have a child to worry about and one who I would rather raise in a non-thunderdome like environment.  Moving though...takes accomplishing the educational goals. 

Third, there are days when I feel like I just do not have enough time for me. I have an amazing family, I have a positive educational environment, I like my job...but between those three things, there are moments that I just get lost in the shuffle and feel like some of the things I want/need just get thrown to the wayside (and this is mostly by yours truly). I feel guilty if I want to say... I need a moment... I need to do something for me and yet, because I don't and won't really ask for the help (I would rather people read my mind and do such) I get that run over, neglected, unimportant feeling that is pretty dreadful.  I've just felt let down by a lot of things lately... people, projects, efforts... and realize that while I can put on a good show and act like I know what I need to do, I'm so overwhelmingly frustrated with the 10000000 things coming at me at once that an unsolicited hand of support would be nice every now and again. Sometimes the little red hen rings so true to me...

I feel bad, I loathe being negative and I hate self pity and just wallowing in having a crap day and whining about it... but here it is.   Crap day, annoyed about some things (still), and just over it. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Gardening... Get a Life Woman!

I believe I am almost finished with the planting portion of my gardening venture.

Today I planted my rasberry bush...well stem, it is a stem.... and I can only hope that it grows to produce tasty rasberries for the jam I plan to make...for my little summer tea party I plan on having (ambitions ambitions).

I also...well, had a moment ....

So I bought these 4 solar lights and I've been completely annoyed because all four of them didnt work and I just haven't taken the 5 minutes to figure out why (they were cheap, I thought they were just defective) had to twist them...
yep...they've been planted since February...
they are lit up tonight!


I finally got my little easter wreath up too! yay.

please ignore the horrible sign which will be removed

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I am working on my spring garden this year....
well... my second.
The first garden fell victim to the late winter frost (that we don't usually get in Georgia).

I have now replanted.

and this is how we are doing.

We've already picked one strawberry, used the thyme, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary... my two types of basil are starting to look very productive...two tomato plants are thriving as are my 5 pepper plants...
the Kale looks strong, the lavender is about to bloom...the parsley and cilantro look great...and my snapdragons at the mailbox are blooming...

My bell peppers and parsnips have not come up (I am beginning to worry) and my brussel sprouts are blooming but I do not know if they will actually produce fruit

Here are some of them...I do a lot of container gardening.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Looking Towards the Future

I am working on a few things right now:

1. Attempting to stop my toddler from continually running into everything.

2. Working towards graduating from Grad School

3. Starting my PhD apps and hopefully getting an acceptance letter.

4. Moving out of Middle Georgia.

These are all physical and mental things to some extent... just working towards getting to the next Chapter.  Adam and I are really positive about it and we are highly motivated.

There are also some more personal things I am learning to deal with:

1. Stop letting people's behavior/treatment of me and my family bother me so much.  

2. Learn that the only people's happiness I need to work on is mine, Adam's, and Aiden's.

3. Stop depending on people who are not going to be there for you if its not in their interest.

It is a lot... but I can do this!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Are We So Obsessed With Guns?

Disclaimer (and I hate to have to place this here..but experience):  If you don't have something constructive and respectful to say...keep it to yourself, no one needs snark, rudeness, sarcasm, or jabs... not every statement made on someone's blog, facebook, twitter... is an open invitation for someone to try to be funny.

I've heard all the Second Amendment defenses I care to hear, unlike a lot of people who just scream Second Amendment when they think someone might dare bring up the idea that gun cultures cater to gun violence... I've read the Constitution.

If you want to own a gun to make yourself feel safe... I do not have a problem with it, granted you understand that unless you are trained and know how to use that gun... you could endanger your friends, family, pets, random people...just as much as anyone who might pose some harm that you are protecting yourself against.

I do NOT allow guns in my home, I WILL NOT allow guns in my home and I do NOT care if you think that is a faux pas... it still will not happen.
Does that make me any less American... if you think so, I feel sorry for your perception of what American means.

Recently Georgia passed an insane law that 1. lets you basically carry a gun anywhere you want 2. bars police from asking for gun licenses... yes... BARS POLICE FROM ASKING TO SEE A GUN LICENSE...
that terrifies me.

The Governor has not signed it yet, but I have little hope...

I know quite a few responsible, trained, and logical gun owners...guess what, they don't feel the need to tote their guns everywhere they go.

So... Do you think it makes people feel safe when they see a random person carrying a sidearm?  Let me talk about my recent experience...

While volunteering at an event a patron arrived with a gun on his side, not in a locked holster, but just in a loose one, there were TONS of little children around, including my 15 month old son.  Was I glad to see a citizen was there to protect me from what??? random attacks??  No.  My husband actually thought about letting our son run about, because it was nice was an open space...and he is in the toddler run phase...but when he saw the man with the gun...he decided against it.  He actually went far away and soon after left and came back to pick me up when I was done... mentioning to me that he just didn't feel safe with our little boy running around a man who had a gun out in the open like that...

Have we ever asked ourselves why as a society we are so obsessed with having a gun knowing how many innocent people die at the other end of them daily....   When is it not OK anymore?  When is it appropriate for people to have honest adult discussions without both sides becoming so defensive that NOTHING gets done...

Not when people get massacred in a movie theater....
Not when dozens of little kids get murdered in their elementary school...
guns are too dare we concerned parents speak up when something honestly worries us???

Business Owners (you know the people we praise in America) cannot even have an opinion about keeping guns off their property without catching a complete firestorm.....

"One is Sean Brock, a well-regarded Southern chef with restaurants in South Carolina and Nashville.

He shot his first gun when he was 8, and sleeps beside a 9-millimeter handgun every night. But he doesn’t want guns in his Husk restaurants.

“It’s a bit strange to me that you think you need to carry a gun when you’re having a cheeseburger,” Mr. Brock said."


I wanted to post the above article on Facebook, but I have relatives and friends who I respect and care about, who would immediately get snarky, rude, and aggressive that I didn't....
God forbid I take that tone with anyone who has an opinion, they would jump my case...
but it is quite alright for people to bully those against gun violence because we dare bring up the idea that perhaps our gun obsession in America has gone a bit too far.  Its awesome to poke fun at us because we truly worry about the influence guns have on people....its stupid for us to worry about the safety of our families...I mean...why not just get a gun??? right???

Do I think we should ban guns?  No.  I have moved away from that utopian concept that perhaps we don't need guns in a modern and advanced society...
Do I think we need to have an honest discussion about safety, regulation, and the responsibility of owning a weapon that when used can easily kill someone?  Yes.

I just do not, for the life of me, understand why it is so hard to be logical, respectful, and empathetic about a subject that causes so many problems....

Because statistics are not used to hold down the gun owners of America...

Guns in the Home and Deaths

More Guns = More Homicide

There are studies that also cite unsupportive evidence, and I am fair... Academic studies are not perfect and experts on both sides of the argument note that guns can help and hinder crime...

Gun Crimes Plummet

but all I want is a movement towards awareness, education, and efforts to remove illegal guns off the streets...
Why is educating a person about the weapon and requiring safety classes or training in order to own a weapon such a bad idea?  Why is making sure you own a gun legally an infringement of your rights?